A Top Trainer Explains how to Deadlift for Max Hamstring Gains

Bodybuilding coach and YouTuber Eugene Teo regularly shares his top tips on how to most effectively perform various weighted exercises for the best results, from deadlifts to split squats. In a new video, he demonstrates a subtle technique adjustment in the Romanian deadlift which can help you focus the movement on your hamstrings instead of your glutes.

Very often, when people do Romanian deadlifts, their glutes become the main drivers of the exercise. But the movement is meant to challenge the hamstrings, too, and Teo's tweak can help you feel a more pronounced hamstring burn.

"Instead of pushing your hips back, push your hips back and up," says Teo. "This cue creates more of a tilt to your pelvis that will stretch out the hamstrings more. You might not be as strong or be able to get as low, but your hamstrings will be working a lot harder."

This is a technique specifically focused on the hamstrings, he adds, so it won't help if what you're trying to do is target and build your glutes, or to increase the amount of weight you're able to lift. In fact, to do it right, you'll likely have to use a lighter weight than normal.

It's also important while performing this slight variation that you still don't elevate your hips too quickly or too early in the pull, as it can lead to lower back pain and even injury. One way to make sure that your form isn't breaking down is to introduce pauses to the movement.

The pause RDL is simple: stop for a moment at the lower end of the rep, and then again midway up through the range of motion when the bar is at your knees. You should feel plenty of tension in your hamstrings and glutes at both of these points. A good starting point would be to try this for 3 or 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

"It's a great way to pattern really good deadlift technique," says Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel "And it's going to really light up your hamstrings and glutes."

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